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McKenzie: NHL's Olympic future will garner most attention

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Bob McKenzie
8/23/2010 10:04:31 PM
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When I look at the agenda that's been set out over the next three days at the World Hockey Summit, I think the one that's going to attract the most attention from the fan base, the media and the people who are actively involved in the sport will be the future of NHL players at the Olympics.

There will be discussion on how Vancouver went for all parties, as well as whether or not the League should send players to the 2014 games in Sochi Russia. I think right now that the League's position is that they don't plan on going, but I think that's a negotiable position when the next collective bargaining agreement is worked on. 

The World Cup of Hockey – formally the Canada Cup – has a tangible benefit to both the NHL and NHL Players Association as they get a large chunk of the proceeds from that event, while the Olympic benefits are less tangible and more altruistic. It should be a great debate.

 

Player Safety

On Tuesday morning, I'll be moderating a player safety and skill development panel, which is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. I think that while we talk a great deal about what happens at the NHL and IIHF levels, we don't spend enough time on the lower levels – or the broad base of the pyramid as it were.

We need to get as many kids as possible playing hockey, and once you get them playing, keep them playing, making sure that they are safe and not jeopardizing their health.
There are a lot of issues on that front that will addressed, like when body contact should be introduced into the game, and if the game, which has sped up in the last five years, has gotten too quick or is it leading to more injuries? 

We'll also address how we're teaching the kids, and if they're learning the best ways to boost the skills that they'll need to advance to the elite levels of hockey.

Sidney Crosby celebrates (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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